The sustainable seafood movement is a Governance concert, with the audience playing a key role

Kate Barclay, Alice Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Private standards, including ecolabels, have been posed as a governance solution for the global fisheries crisis. The conventional logic is that ecolabels meet consumer demand for certified "sustainable" seafood, with "good" players rewarded with price premiums or market share and "bad" players punished by reduced sales. Empirically, however, in the markets where ecolabeling has taken hold, retailers and brands-rather than consumers-are demanding sustainable sourcing, to build and protect their reputation. The aim of this paper is to devise a more accurate logic for understanding the sustainable seafood movement, using a qualitative literature review and reflection on our previous research. We find that replacing the consumer-driven logic with a retailer/brand-driven logic does not go far enough in making research into the sustainable seafood movement more useful. Governance is a "concert" and cannot be adequately explained through individual actor groups. We propose a new logic going beyond consumer- or retailer/brand-driven models, and call on researchers to build on the partial pictures given by studies on prices and willingness-to-pay, investigating more fully the motivations of actors in the sustainable seafood movement, and considering audience beyond the direct consumption of the product in question.
Original languageEnglish
Article number180
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2018


  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Ecolabels
  • Ethical consumption
  • Green marketing
  • Supply chain management
  • Sustainable seafood

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